28 February 2011

Simplicity 4059 doublet done

The eyelets went in easily, and hubby once again modelled it for me even though it is two sizes too big and altered for our friend ... lol hubby says he feels like a Klingon wearing it.  (hmm, an idea for a costume ...)  Here it is:
The tie ribbon is the same velvet, but kept flipping backwards when lacing it (wrong style of lacing ... but I suspect my friend will lace it this way simply because he is so used to it).

My dear, patient, and accommodating hubby really does look like he is swimming in all that fabric ...

S4059 doublet put together

I've been quiet the past day and a half because I have really been knocking this doublet project out.  I finished the handsewing last night, after doing more than I initially planned ... because it just looks good!  I still need to set the eyelets in, but here is the put-together doublet, modelled on hubby (who is half a foot shorter and build differently than my friend the history professor who this is made for)

The lighting is horrible, I know ... but it's no better near the windows, and hasn't been all day as we've had another day of storms like yesterday.  The spot where hubby is holding the waist closed is where the lowest eyelets will be.  I'll use silvertone eyelets to match the shirt I made my friend last year, along with a thin green velvet ribbon to tie it closed.  Not only did my friend balk at button prices last March when we bought the stuff to make this doublet, but he also wears a sword in an over-the-shoulder baldric which could tear off buttons when he moves.

The doublet itself is quick to put together ... what took me so long was handsewing the pretty velvet ribbon on as trim.  I should probably look at the pattern instructions to see if they agree with how I did it LOL ... I looked at them only long enough to see how/when to turn it right-side-out ... and also referred to the pictures in The Tudor Tailor since the pieces' basic shape matched.  I didn't put tabs on to tie sleeves to, mainly because you can count the days in May cool enough to wear sleeves on one hand ... in the past decade.

I think I achieved the goal of making a nice doublet that says "middle class and trying to move up" which was the overall look my friend wanted.

26 February 2011

Velvet trim for S4059 doublet

It's all cut out, and construction has begun ... and once again I proved the Murphy's Law that says the better you match the thread, the more likely you will need to rip some stitches ...

I was zipping along putting the backs together when I remembered it's supposed to have evergreen velvet trim in a design ... so I ripped out half the CB seam to align the chevron on the notches.  Then (before oopsing) I recalled velvet doesn't play well with machines, so it's hand-stitching time to hold it into place.  It's a good reminder of why I try to avoid handstitching when possible ... but the back is now done:
The CB seam isn't flat, because my friend's back is no longer straight, but I'm feeling pretty pleased at how nicely I got the point of the chevron ... and glad I am done handstitching for tonight!  I suppose handstitching is something I can do over coffee tomorrow morning.

25 February 2011

Simplicity 4059 doublet pattern alterations

I've already pulled apart the red broadcloth fitting muslin and starch the everlovin (*bleep*) out of it, and when I reached into the zip bag to find the rest of the pieces I found the original pattern pieces ... and since I am still working on my 2nd cup of coffee it amused me to snap a pic to compare the two set of pieces:
Yes, I am easily amused in the mornings (which may be why I don't usually post before lunchtime).  There was no methodical way to determine these alterations, as I did them the olde fashioned way: put the first fitting muslin on him and marked it up with a Sharpie pen and used safety pins to pinch out excess, while also hacking at it on him with a pair of scissors for excess around the neck and armholes.
That was back in October, but I remember it ... because it was actually fun.  I'm still surprised I got so much of it right on the first alteration go-round, but given his schedule it's a good thing.  I found the last of the unbleached cotton muslin I bought over a year ago on sale, and will be using that up for the lining (since I scored more for an even better price this month!).

24 February 2011

New (old) project

Now that the Vogue coat mockup is finished, hooks and all, I am going to go back to long-standing project that still is not cut out even ... my friend's Tudor doublet using Simplicity 4059.  He picked out and bought the fabric back in March of last year ... and it's been in my sewing area since.

In October, I meant to do it up for him for Halloween, and we did get as far as fitting it to him ... then that fell to the side with all the gift sewing I did for the holidays.  So I have a fitted pattern and uncut fashion fabric and lining.  Oh, here's the last fitting pic:
He has forward rounded shoulders and a beer belly ... this was the first fitting muslin, made from the pattern itself:
Complete with Sharpie notes scribbled all over it (and for those wondering, muslins get marked up with a sharpie, while mockups are fully done without the Sharpie notes).

Oh, before I forget, here's is a hopefully better pic of the Vogue coat mockup ... I noticed yesterday's pics were dark even after I lightened them a bit through gimp.
As you can see, it wants to hang open below the bust.  I do have a hook above the waist, at the bust, and at the top, but there is that rust-orange lining peeking out under Mathilda.

Pattern score!

So I thought I'd be motivated this morning and handsew coat hook-and-eyes on the coat mockup ... only to discover I had the wrong style -- and that I sewed the first one on quite sturdily.  After finally getting the wrong one ripped off, I finished my second cup of coffee, got dressed and headed off to Hancock with the new mailer in hand.

My local Hancock finally got in the Burda patterns!  Wooohooo!  The mens' jacket #7704 isn't in the newest catalog, so I picked up two others for hubby to look at: 7419 and 7918.

I also picked up two for myself: the 7870 dirndl and the 7977 sideless surcoat.  Oh, and the rest of the Kwik Sew patterns on my wishlist ... Hancock has them 20% off for the next couple weeks.

Notionwise, I grabbed up some more buttons, the right coat hook-and-eyes, and some rigilene to try out on the KS bustier.

As for the Vogue coat mockup, while I like the lines I don't think the fabric choice was right.  It's still not hanging right in my opinion, but it is finally finished.  I'm wearing my black polka dotted S2566 blouse today ... and it's not the best choice for a windy rainy bleh grey day.  The cute keyhole neckline is letting a bit of breeze in ...

23 February 2011

V8626 put together ...

Well, except for fasteners, and I am not going to use coat buttons for this one.  I thought to use coat hook-n-eyes, but right now I am not even sure about that.  It doesn't seem to be hanging right, on me or on Mathilda, and I am wondering if it is the fabric choice (unknown home dec remnant) or if it's the omission of the deep pleat in the CB of the lining.  Here are the pics:

The side pleats don't appear to be laying right, and when wearing it the sides feel "wrong", plus I am still not getting the front to hang straight - I noticed it in the shell pics from the other day.

I think I'll leave it on Mathilda for a few days and see if my last two working brain cells produce any ideas for it ...

V8626 lining done

Bad me ... I haven't blogged for a few days.  Hubby and son have had time off over the long weekend, and got into the spring cleaning and grilling spirit ... I have been working on the lining a bit in between, but was loathe to take the coat shell off Mathilda because the TK is in full shed mode and I swear she's surrounded by a cloud of loose light colored fur ... kind of like the PigPen character from the Peanuts gang ... and she's the cat who seems to like the coat shell the most.

But the next step is to attach lining to shell, so it's safe to put the lining on Mathilda for a pic:
The pattern has you do up the CF panels in the outer fashion fabric ... I like the effect.  It could make for some fun colorblocking for the final version in wool.

Hubby mentioned when I showed him the shell that it reminds him of my justacorps ("pirate") coat from the fall of '09 that I gave to my sister ... and I can see some similarities in the lines of it.  Considering how much I like the justacorps style, it may have factored into my choosing this pattern.  For the record, I *will* be redoing the justacorps coat in that same fabric ... once I work out all the tweaks I want to do to it.  The pattern needs mods, and more than just an FBA.

I just want to get this mockup done and get back to the Kwik Sew bustier ... plus McCall's put up their new patterns yesterday and they have a bustier pattern now as well ... which of course I must try out and compare to the KS pattern.

Now, to put the coat together ...

20 February 2011

Vogue 8626 coat shell sewn

So I finished cutting the lining this morning, and sewed in the pocket pieces then sewed up the sides of the coat outer shell (that my cats love so much).  Here's a pic, which makes me realize I need to even up Mathilda's "strategic padding" so things hang over the bra correctly.
I'm a bit amused from yesterday ... I found out I am not the only person who uses her lint roller on her ironing board.  It made sense to me from the beginning, especially given how the linen/cotton I bought last spring shed and frayed ... and those fray threads stick to anything that provides high contrast.  Hmm, that's a lot like how my cats aren't truly colorblind, but will shed on whatever color their fur shows up on the most.

Oh, pattern instruction note: The steps for the lining and sleeves are weird.  I am just not grokking them, so I am (once again) disregarding them to do it in a way that makes sense to me - sewing the sleeves on flat, then sewing the sleeves closed when I sew the sides and pockets closed.  I'll do the lining the same way, then put them together and then hem the sleeves in after I turn it (the bottom hem is separate and the lining hangs free).

Will it work right?  That's one of the reasons I am doing mockups of all my coat patterns!  The other reason is to see how the styles look on me since I now know how to do FBAs and no longer need to buy a size too big just to button it closed.

My teenage son says this is looking nice and he likes the style.  He also says he likes my hosed-up bustier corset (KS 3850) despite the mistakes.  I think both hubby and son are trying to encourage me to make modern styles since neither is big into the historical garb.

I will say this much: after doing so many 1/4 inch seams on the bustier corset, the standard 5/8 inch seam allowance feels huge!

19 February 2011

Back to the Vogue coat

I have cleaned the turquoise metallic fuzz out of my machine already this morning (something I can do before the 2nd cup of coffee!) and utilized yet another odd but necessary sewing notion: the lint roller.
Not only does it get the cat fur off my fabric (like when the furry monsters discover how warm the coat shell is!) but it was indispensable with that poly brocade that frayed/shed as much as an individual cat.  I used it on my ironing board cover as I worked on the brocade ... you can see a thread in the corner of the pic.

Since I am tired of shooing cats off the coat shell, I am going to sew it up today.  I need to dig up the fabric I'll be using for the lining some point very soon ...

18 February 2011

Silk splurges and sales acquisitions

I mentioned last week about my sewing being interrupted by the arrival of a box of fabric splurges and promised pics ... the procrastination on that is over as I had this urge to pull out my latest splurges and fondle them, so why not snap pics?  This time, instead of laying them on my table I draped them over Mathilda since the prints are huge (and there's currently a very yummy chocolate cake on the table since yesterday afternoon!).

Not surprisingly, these come from that "ebil enabler" site, FabricMart.  When I first saw these two silks back in late November, they were $35/yd, so they truly put the "wish" into my wishlist and I joked that the only way I would get them would be if we won the lotto ... I was wrong.  First FM marked them down to $30/yd ... then put them in the 50% sale.  Hubby spoils me rotten at times, plus has a wishlist of things he wants me to sew for him, so he gave this splurge the green light.  This time, my pics turned out!

My pic

FM's pic

Charmeuse #2:

FM's pic

My pic
On the utility fabric acquisition side of things, today I picked up cotton muslin on sale again for 99c/yd, a bit of cotton twill at $2.50/yd, and last week grabbed a couple yards of cotton down-proof mattress ticking to try out for corset cores. The ticking is lightweight, strong, and has little bias stretch and will be the core of my next attempt to turn KS 3850 into a four-layer corset.

Before I dive into version 2 of the bustier corset, I think I'll finished sewing up the Vogue coat mockup, as all three of my cats have discovered the outer shell and all three think it worth the effort to jump up and lay/shed on it ... even my oldest, fattest, and by far my laziest cat.  It doesn't take too many days of decent weather for these furry monsters to start shedding like mad ... so I need to get the mockup done and hung up!  Just for fun, here's all three napping (and shedding) on our bed:

I thought you made that

"I thought you made that!"  That's what my son said this morning about my *purchased* light jacket with extensive embroidery on it.  I thought I had a pic of it, but I can't find it right now.

Actually, I bought this jacket down in Florida the day after Christmas on sale.  It's a simple, unlined, zipper-front beige canvas band-collar jacket with white and blue floral embroidery all over it, very casual and without pockets (which I would have put in if I made it).

So my son mistaking a retail jacket for something I might have made says either:
  • There are people in retail apparel manufacturing with as tacky of tastes as I have ... 1980s revivial, anyone?  LOL
  • My *successful* projects are now up to retail quality ...
I just found that amusing this morning.

17 February 2011

KS 3850, version 1

Yes, this will be another version 1 ... but I have it mostly finished and it's *sorta* wearable ... hubby likes it but I can see some significant changes to improve.  One of the "fun" parts of learning as I go!  First, the pics:
As y'all can see, I over-engineered the cups and don't have enough room.  This is pushing the top of the zipper out, which I should have supported with smaller cable ties but didn't have room due to the cording around the cups.  Yes, the straps are safety-pinned because somehow they ended up way too long for me.
Now, for what I really like ... the way the body fits!  It's just the right amount of support and even looks slimming (IMO) from the front.  The zipper in front is great for getting in and out quickly.  The bottom is flared enough to wear jeans and a leather belt under it  I also like the "rabbit ears" tie method for the back ... this time I didn't need to ask hubby to tie me up (err ... did that come out right?).

Finally, remember how last week I was grumping and griping about subzero temperatures on the Fahrenheit scale?  This is our third mid to upper 60s day.  I'm even wearing a half-top under the bustier corset.

Now, to plot out how I will do version two differently to fix the problems ...

14 February 2011

Setting eyelets: Tools

Time to set my eyelets in the Kwik Sew 3850 bustier corset.  I've had several requests to show how I set eyelets after zipping through it in December with the McCall's waist corset, so here we go.

First up, the tools I use:
From top right: A screw punch, the baggie of eyelets, circled in red are the Dritz setting tools, the magic seam gauge, handy-dandy hammer, and - just for Gloria's amusement - my now-broken cutting board, all on my cutting mat.
  • Screw punch: I use this to start the holes.  It's a now discontinued scrapbooking tool which punches a circle into whatever.  After 3 boned bodices, 2 versions of the Elizabethan, and two waist corsets it's still pretty sharp.  A whole lot of people say an awl should be used to avoid cutting the threads ... YMMV.
  • The eyelets themselves, which come in two parts.  Dritz usually puts more "tops" than bottoms in their packs, so don't freak out if you have more of the inner rings (like I did the first couple times).  They also come in silvertone and antiqued brass, but I am partial to the shiny goldtone ones.
  • The two Dritz setting tools.  Not much to look at: a plastic ring with an impression to hold the bottom ring and a metal spindle-like thing to fit over the top ring then smack with a hammer.  Some folks use the pliers tool, but I haven't tried that one myself.  I get much more satisfaction out of whacking it with a hammer (except when I miss the top of the spindle and hit my thumb ...)
  • Magic seam gauge:  This is how I determine where to put the holes in with the screw punch.  I've heard about a tool that stretches or retracts to figure eyelet/grommet spacing, but haven't seen it yet.
  • Handy dandy standard issue home hammer ... also useful when threatening fabric or machines that don't want to behave themselves!  LOL
  • Two parts of one wooden cutting board, retired from food prep to crafting ... maybe hammering eyelets on it wasn't the smartest thing I've done, but if you squint at the pic you might see all the circles from using it with the screw punch.
  • Cutting mat - hopefully this will absorb the shock of my hammering ...
Half a cup of coffee to finish, then the fun starts!

13 February 2011

KS 3850 sewn

The sewing is done finally.  I still need to put in the eyelets in back, but will wait for tomorrow so I can take pics of the steps as requested.  Here it is on the table:
And hanging (by the shoulder straps) on Mathilda, not fastened at all:
Meanwhile, I have that mischievious voice in the back of my tiny brain (the one usually accompanied by that proverbial wild hair) that is suggesting whther this version fits or not, to keep redoing this pattern until I am happy with it ...

12 February 2011

Slogging along

I had hoped today would be the last day of fighting this brocade ... no such luck.  This project is definitely giving my "cover-up" skills a workout, as I hosed up the back by not paying attention to how many layers were between the scissor blades.  (*sigh*)  Not to mention the fun of getting a longish fray thread tangled down in the feed dogs, and the wonderful things that does to how the stitch looks ... that one wasn't as bad since bias binding covers up a multitude of oopsies.

I am done fighting with it tonight ... tomorrow will be another day.
Bad photog skills also cover up quite a bit.  LOL  Now, because I cut the binding too close at the top of the zipper, I have to figure out how to remove a zip tooth and put the zipper stop in its place.  Apparently, this is possible with pliers ...

If this brocade wasn't so pretty

I'd BURN it!!!  I've been fighting the brocade for a couple hours already today, and figured it was time for a lunch break.  I finished sewing together the other half of the outer layer, then cut the straps, sewed them ... and forgot to sew them to only the outer layer on one side.

The wonderful blockfusing idea I had really adds bulk to the entire garment.  Technically I am sewing 8 layers - 4 fabric, 4 interfacing - through the nonseam areas.  I seriously thought about pulling out "Timex", my cheap 14 stitch Brother LX-3125 mechanical ... but Timex doesn't have an adjustable needle position.  So far, the daily driver, my most expensive sewing machine at $160 plus tax and a Brother CS-770, is handling all but the hemp cord just fine.

Being this far off the instructions, I am flying blind on construction order.  I did some thinking, and my last two working brain cells say to do the zipper before binding the bottom or the top middle.

Binding ... I am determined to use up this brocade, and figured maybe it would behave to make bias binding strips.  That, plus I couldn't think of a way to bind in black without the straps looking funky.  Well, the brocade is fighting me even on the idea of turning it into bias binding!  Before I started, I Googled up tutorials on making my own bias binding since I haven't done it before, and used the top two results - one with a diagram and one with pictures.  The brocade was giving me enough fits, that I didn't sew it into a tube for the continuous idea.

I've come to accept the idea that this bustier corset won't be my best example of construction technique ... but it will be functional, I hope.  Here's where I am so far as I prepare to raid the refrigerator:
Sorry about the focus, but this busy shiny brocade is giving my camera's autofocus absolute fits.

11 February 2011

Kwik Sew 3850 brocade

First of all, I have been fighting this poly brocade fabric tooth and nail for the past two days.  It didn't want to take the block fusing.  It slides on itself something fierce.  It frays so bad, I sneezed this morning and there was a turquoise and gold thread on my tissue.  I was sorely tempted to cut a different fabric yesterday.  But, I have persevered and here is half of the outer layer:
It's a very pretty, very busy ... and very difficult fabric.  I still have the other half and the straps to fight with.

09 February 2011

Not your ordinary sewing notions!

Yesterday afternoon my cutting was first interrupted by the arrival of a box (that will get a separate post *wink*) and then after putting up my new lovelies I decided to check the weather forecast.  After screeching "EEEEKKK!!!" upon seeing more evil white stuff forecast, I immediately grabbed a cable tie and headed for the hardware store to buy something to cut these heavy duty ties my scissors had all bounced off of without leaving a mark.

So ... did I get some heavy duty wire cutters, like I had thought?  Nope!  None of the wire cutters Lowe's had would cut through the tie.  They did have some that looked like mini bolt cutters, but I wasn't inclined to buy over a foot of leverage, so I asked if there was something in the tools department that could cut the cable tie.  And here it is:
The hang card calls them all purpose snips, but the pictures on it show them cutting sheet metal!  No joke, these are rated to cut up to 23 gauge cold rolled steel sheet metal, and were the first tool to cut the plastic cable tie clean through without needing to use my foot.  Trying to think ahead, I also asked about a small fine file to smooth the edges.

Tin snips and metal files aren't what most people think of as sewing notions ... but when I graduate to steel bones for my corsets these should still do the trick!  I still can't believe I had to find such heavy duty tools for *plastic* cable ties.

Meanwhile, I just finished cutting the lining fabric and will sew it up before that lovely linen/cotton blend I love so much even thinks about fraying (even with the cheap lightweight Pellon fusible blockfused to it).

08 February 2011

KS 3850 bustier corset core boning

Just finished sewing the boning into the core of my Kwik Sew bustier done corset style.  I still haven't braved the streets to go pick up a heavy duty pair of wire cutters to clip the heavy duty cable ties that my scissors don't even dent ... I hadn't expected the buggers to be quite so sturdy, even though I did buy the heaviest heavy duty cable ties!  I figured that being plastic, at least one pair of scissors would work on them ... so much for that.  Even my nice kitchen scissors which cut through most bones couldn't leave a mark on them.

Back the core and the boning: here is the pic of where I am at right now:
And for those who are wondering just what kind of cable ties I bought that I need industrial-strength wire cutters just to clip through them:
Rated up to 175 lbs (79.38 kg) ... and they actually mean it!  They are probably also serious about the 185F (85C) temperature rating as well, which means these won't be distorted by mere body heat.  For those looking in the Lowes or Home Depot aisle to buy the same, the brand name is Gardner Bender.  Just be sure to buy heavy duty nippers at the same time ...

On to cutting and sewing the fashion fabrics - lining and outside!

07 February 2011

Another snow day - stuck without proper tool

We started this morning with rain, but by 10 AM it turned to a heavy sticky snow ... and less than an hour later the schools closed early and the county pretty much shut down.  While my back feels better than the past two days, I got a nice little headache until after lunch ... way too late (snow-wise) to scoot out and get a couple patterns from my books copied to life size ... or buy a pair of decent wire cutter thingies to cut my heavy duty cable ties down to the right size.

I did get a bit done even with hubby and son bopping around the house: First I took off 3/4 inch from the back panels.  The pattern allows for a 5/8 inch seam allowance in CB, but I want enough of a gap just in case I lose a little weight.  Then I did a test to see how well the cable ties fit under my zipper foot.  Success!
This is my test scrap from the same fabric with the same interfacing, with a strip of buckram going under each cable tie.  (And yet another example of how I can't seem to sew straight even when following a straight edge!)  Between the buckram and the cable ties, this will be quite sturdy and hold its shape.  Here it is with an eyelet in between:
I've gotten one side of the back done so far, then paused to make and eat supper and just haven't been back in to do the other yet.  I also found my black brass separating zippers to use on the front and pinned it to the seam allowances.  Now hopefully the streets won't ice too badly tomorrow so I can get out to the hardware store!

06 February 2011

Slow progress and a couple tricks

First of all, I have been in pain since Friday afternoon, and since I know this affects my mood I try not to post much when this happens (in pretty much any form).  Progress on the bustier-done-corset-style Kwik Sew 3850 is slow because of this.

I have figured out a couple little tricks to working with that poly boning stuff you can buy at Hancock or Wal-Mart.  First of all, you can iron the stuff flat!  Honestly, I don't know why I didn't realize this before.  I know it is heat-malleable because wearing it next to the body causes it to conform to the curve - as opposed to holding its shape which is what I originally wanted it to do.

Second, if I pull it out of its casing I can stitch it into place using my boxy-style zipper foot that came with each of my little cheap Brother machines.  The poly boning is either exactly or very close to the height of a standard zipper, so it fits perfectly and the foot keeps the needle out of the poly boning.  Gratuitous pic for Elaina, who requested "more pics" last night:
On a slight tangent, hubby tightened up the back lacing on my Elizabethan for me today, and says there is no room to tighten any further.  I'm pretty certain I haven't lost weight, so that leaves fabric stretching as the most likely reason.  I will definitely be making a new one for this year's Renn Faire.

04 February 2011

KS 3850 corded

I finished up the second core layer this morning, and other than pressing all the seams in the opposite direction from the first layer it looked the same until I corded it this afternoon.
Last night after embroidery chat, I talked to Elaina about structure ideas for this project.  The pattern calls for only one piece of boning down the CF seam ... and I am doing much more structure with a zipper in front so I can dress myself.  Therefore, I am pretty much on my own for figuring out how to do this.  Since the cups are shaped well, I figure I just need enough to hold them in shape (something a little more than lightweight cheap Pellon) so I decided to use my hemp cord.  When I find where I put my poly boning, I'll use that on the seams under the cups and to reinforce each side of the zipper, then try out cable ties for the back and sides.

Putting in the hemp cord gave me a chance to try out a new toy - a piping foot that was on sale for one of the post-holiday clearances.  About all I can do is squeal like a delighted child!  This works like an extra set of fingers!  If you have any need to running cords, get one.
I'm sure it does a great job of actually making piping as well ...

03 February 2011

Kwik Sew 3850 bustier core completed!

I'm still quite excited about this project - nothing is quite like inspired sewing!  I just finished the first core layer for Kwik Sew 3850, the bustier I am doing corset-style.  Before I could snap a pic of it on Mathilda ... first I had to sacrifice a bra that fits me and pad her out!  The core just was not going to fit right on those unrealistic shaped hard boobs of hers ...
I stuffed her bra with the leftover faux sherpa fleece scraps, since those are nice and squooshy.  I realized while pinning the core to her that I didn't stuff the bra cups evenly, but a quick comparison shows they're close enough, right down to the squish factor.

Now, for the core layer!

It's not hanging right in the waist and hips, because I now need to figure out how rearrange and pad out mathilda's lower belly and hips to match me.  The measurements might match, numbers-wise, but the shaping just isn't me.

Enough about my lumps and bumps - y'all want to hear details!  As I mentioned in my pattern notes yesterday, this pattern has 1/4 inch seam allowances.  Probably no big deal to the quilters out there, but I've gotten used to the "standard" 5/8 inch seam allowance in the vast majority of commercial garment patterns.  These tiny seam allowances, combined with all the wonderful shaping in the pattern, make it a royal pain in the (donkey) to press these seams over to topstitch them down.

Oh, another point in the "pro" column for these pattern instructions: They do say to topstitch every seam.  On the minus side (*IMO*) is that for many they say to press the seams open after stitching.  Although I've seen corset tutorials going either or even both ways on pressing seams, I have a strong preference for the "to one side" way, as it seems to my last two working brain cells that this would be stronger.  While I have no intentions of ever trying to tightlace, I also have no desire to experience a wardrobe malfunction, especially after all the work that goes into making a corset.

While this is very fiddly with the tiny seam allowances, I am loving the shaping that is drafted into this pattern.  Here's a bit closer view of the bust cup (and more proof of my assertion that I still can't sew a straight line to save my life ... yeah the black thread on white fabric really proves it).
Time to cut and sew a second core layer!  Wooo hooo!

02 February 2011

KS 3850 pattern notes and fabrics

Rolling along here ... I have the pattern traced off and have started cutting the core layers.  Here's a few pics I've snapped along the way (well, the couple that turned out decent enough).  First, this is all the pattern pieces and how small the instruction sheet is:
Four pieces for the body, three pieces for the bust cup, and a piece for the shoulder strap.  The small pieces helped me use up some scrap pieces of the red dot stuff.  If you squint at the instruction sheet, you'll notice the actual steps don't start until the very bottom right corner, so this is a very thin envelope indeed.  Compared to the only other Kwik Sew pattern I've done, there are a lot of notches to help line things up properly.  While that makes it a bit of a pain to cut out, it will help immensely for construction.

An important note about seam allowances: except for the center front and center back, all other seam allowances are only 1/4 inch!  Those of y'all who are used to cutting your notches inside the seam allowances ... don't.  Cut the notches outward, because 1/4 inch is too tiny.

I'm not sure how the 3 piece bust cups will work for y'all SBAers, but I do know this is a boon to us FBAers.  Another note that seems to be peculiar to Kwik Sew: They do not draft all sizes to the "standard" B cup.  From their measuring and altering pdf, page 12:
XS & S = B cup
M = C cup
L & XL = D cup
Since I am cutting a large and have a D cup, I should not need an FBA on this pattern.  They also draft misses' sizing to fit a 5 foot 6 inch tall person ... which happens to be my exact height.  I have a couple more KS patterns in my stash, and they have all just jumped higher on my to-sew list with this information.  As long as they didn't draft in too much design ease, this should fit me perfectly.

Now, for fabrics ... I realized the muslin wasn't going to do the trick for the core layers, so I went stash-diving again.  I found a plain weave white cotton that looks to be the right weight and sturdiness with no give ongrain or crossgrain, although predictably it does have some bias stretch.  To try to combat this, I pulled out some lightweight Pellon fusible and block fused the cotton.  When I unfolded it, I had a bit of surprise: I've used this fabric before, even though I didn't remember until I saw the basic shirt body shape.  I guess I've had this fabric for quite a while: the only white-white shirt I made was the one with the red striped sleeves where I hosed up the front placket.  This means this cotton is one of my oldest fabrics in my stash - bought in either August or September of 2009.  Given the tiny seam allowance for most of this pattern, the block fusing will go a long way to help keep fraying down to a minimum.

While searching through the fabric piles for suitable core layer fabric, I found two candidates for the outer layer ... both also stash.  Here's the pic of the two candidates, with the white in between to separate them visually:
On the left is a satiny poly jacquard, and on the right is a pretty poly brocade with a muted teal-blue base color and metallic designs.  If I use the satiny jacquard, I'll line and bind it with my leftover black linen/cotton from last spring.  If I use the metallic brocade, I'll use the navy blue linen/cotton to line and bind.  In the end I'll probably make one of each ... but if anyone has a preference please leave a comment!  I like both, and will need to resort to a coin flip to make up my mind without any input one way or the other.

Quick side project KS 3850

I'm sure some of y'all saw this coming after yesterday afternoon's post about bringing home the new Kwik Sew 3850 bustier pattern ... since I need to dig out my lining fabric in the bottom stash tub to go any further on the coat mockup, and that bustier pattern is burning in my brain like a cheap neon sign in the middle of nowhere ... I'm pausing on the coat to make this bustier up!  Who could resist this?
Obviously, I can't!  I've tried to pick a fabric to do it up in, but until I do, I'll start the core in the cheap cotton muslin I scored on sale the other week.  Well, first I need to trace off the pattern pieces, because there is no way I am cutting the nice sturdy pattern paper KS prints on.

I read over the directions last night ... and they completely lost me by step 2: "pin and stitch boning to CF seam allowances."  Ummmm ...?  They don't define boning anywhere I could see on the envelope or in the instructions, but it doesn't sound like they mean anything *I* consider boning.  Definitely not flat or spiral spring steel!  Which I still don't have anyway, but I can't even do this with the poly boning stuff I've learned to hate, much less the heavy duty cable ties I am planning to use.  I'm pretty sure they mean that Ridgilene stuff ... I have something like it here somewhere, but I'd need to dig for it.

So, my original idea of doing a bustier by the instructions will just need to wait until I find the flexible plastic canvas-like stuff that can be sewn into place.  Instead, it will be done corset-style!  Truth be told, this is what I really wanted to do with this pattern anyway ...

01 February 2011

Elizabethan pair-of-bodies, casual style

A common question when folks hear I wear my Elizabethan to more than just Renn Faire is: What do I wear it with?  Usually followed by: Where do I wear it?  The answer to the second question is "Where ever I want to go."  As for the first question:
Simple knit top and blue jeans!  (You can also see where the structure of the Elizabethan isn't holding up very well, especially when compared to the pics from last spring.)

Coat progress despite distractions

I've been sewing today ... honest!  I felt good when I woke up, so had my daily driver fired up well before lunchtime.  I attached to back skirt to the yoke, after putting "permanent pleats" in the CB deep pleat.

I wish I could take a good pic of how I do this permanent pleat/crease idea that my mom did on my slacks decades ago when I was growing up.  It has no hope of showing up with black thread on an almost black back of the fabric though, so y'all will just have to visual until I get light color thread on the machine to do a demo on a scrap (note to self: don't forget to make an example for this).

A while back ago in chat, gloria had mentioned doing this for her slacks ... after making me first promise not to laugh about it.  I did chuckle, but it was because my mom did this years ago, and I wish I had done it on my long pleated gaucho pants as well.  It's so simple: just edgestitch about 1/16th of an inch in along a crease you want to be permanent.  Since the mystery home dec stuff doesn't seem inclined to hold a sharp crease - I am considering a vague maybe hint of a crease to be the best I can get - I really wanted a way to make this deep pleat hold its pleated shape.  The vinegar trick of chemically setting pleats sounds like it only works on fabrics that will take a sharp crease to begin with (now why hadn't I used that on the linen gaucho pants either?).

Distraction #1 occurred when I had a thought (just one, don't be too shocked!) to put the coat outer layer on Mathilda, and realized the black dotted 80s style blouse was still on Mathilda instead of being washed and worn.  When I pulled my blouse off Mathilda, I noticed I hadn't topstitched the facing down around the neckline.  Well, there's black thread loaded up on the machine ...!  So I went around shoulder seam to shoulder seam, and it has now finally made it into my laundry pile to the washer.

Distraction #2 came in the form of a Hancock run.  I decided I have coupons and ain't afraid to use them, so today is a perfect day to go get a walking foot.  Err ... FAIL!  They have two slant shank feet and zero low shank ... guess which style my machines require?  It wasn't a wasted trip though ... as if I could leave Hancock's empty handed. 

First happy acquisition: some gridded "interfacing" to draw a new corset pattern via Lady Drea's Custom Corset pattern generator.  Y'all knew this would end up being about corsets ... right?  LOL  Once I get it drawn out for my measurements, then I'll tweak the Simplicity 2621 pattern I've used before and frankenpattern the two into a new Elizabethan with boned tabs this time.  If it works out as planned, I will use the white pearl silk brocade for the outer layer!  Ice storm or no ice storm forecast ... I am trying to resist the temptation to drop the coat idea and make a new corset right now.

Which brings me to one of the two new Kwik Sew patterns I bought today.  Along with pleated shorts, I also bought the new bustier pattern, KS 3850.  I'll test it out as a bustier first, using my fuchsia linen from last year :)  then see just how easily it will adapt to a more boned corset.  Judging from the line drawings, it looks like it will convert very nicely!  Oh, I want to drop all this winter coat stuff and start on this immediately ...

Edit: Hit publish too soon!  Of course, all my wanting to drop the coat idea for now and do corsets and a bustier may partly be inspired by maggie finishing up her Victorian corset in blush dupioni.  I think it looks quite good, and considering maggie says she's learning as she does it, I'll bet the next version looks better.  They're not mistakes, they're learning experiences!  And y'all can bet that I have been taking notes, so I can make different mist -err, learning experiences.  ;)